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The story of Hans and his sister's participation in a skating competition is interwoven with their class reading of
_The Hero of Haarlem_ (the boy who saved his country by plugging a dike with his finger).
Somehow poplular myth has transferred Han's name to the dike boy.
In his day E. P. Roe was a bigger seller than Mark Twain.
"In the Opening of a Chestnut Burr, Mr. Roe has made a marked advance upon his two previous stories.
He has already exhibited a remarkable power of description, which in this volume he uses with good effect in the scenes of
fire and shipwreck. It is thoroughly religious, thoroughly Christian both in tone and teaching."
-- Harper's Magazine. (a contemporary review)
Tom Grogan is a stevedore on the 1890s New York City docks.
Tom dies unexpectedly and his wife Mary decides to carry on his business by taking Toms place.
It is not easy to maintain the fiction that she is Tom Grogan,
nor to keep the business afloat in the face of many challenges.
This novel was the grandfather of the Western genre and follows a natural gentleman as he is entangled with
the new Wyoming state's 1890s Johnson County War - the ugly side of the consolidation of The American West.
A cabal of large vested interests and a diffuse collection of small players fight for control of access rights to publicly owned common range land.
Rhetoric and actions escalate and culminated in some nasty lynchings, the use of a gang of hired Texan killers (with the tacit approval of the state Governor),
the murder of a small rancher, the siege of the Texans by a posse of 200, and their eventual rescue by the U.S. sixth cavalry at the orders of the president.
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